Jul 26 2008
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Readers, though, the way that I look at it is this: Would the hook itself interest you in reading the book. If yes, what interests you and if not, what would you change to make it more appealing?
When Asa sidled into my office with that pinched expression on his face, I didn’t bother looking up from my laptop. "No."
"C’mon, Cyn. You don’t even know what I’m asking yet."
"Yes, I do." I stabbed a few keys and stopped the playback on a full view of last night’s scene-’not as gruesome as it could have been, but the lack of gore didn’t make the victim any less dead. "You want me to translate. And I’m busy."
Asa sighed. He ambled over, stopped in front of my desk and fingered the leaves of my dwarf Chinese evergreen. "Don’t you ever water this thing?"
"It’s supposed to droop," I snapped. Behind me, the photo printer whirred and fluttered out a copy of the frame I’d frozen. I pushed my chair back and tapped the edge of my desk a few times. Ragged fingernails. I was half tempted to polish them, but I’d lost my last bottle and couldn’t be bothered looking for it. "Look, Asa, I’m sorry. I had a long night and a crazy morning, and Homicide needs this stuff before lunch. Whatever they want, it can wait-’or you can get Loopy to muddle through it."
Asa grimaced when I tossed out Lupe Renaldo’s rather apt handle. "The chief wants you on this. It’s more than just a translation. We need a little more tact than Loopy . . . er, Renaldo can manage. Kind of a diplomatic mission."
I shook my head. "I’m not a diplomat. I’m not even a cop, remember? I just take the pictures around here."
At least, that’s what I was supposed to do. Police videographers generally weren’t required to assist with investigations or help interview subjects. Unfortunately, my unique and unwanted language ability demanded my occasional participation.
Lately, the demand had been far more occasional than I liked. They’d gotten bolder with the new integration laws. More interaction with society on their part, and no change in their general disinterest in learning our tongue. This, of course, surprised no one.
I stood and made for the printer, my back to him, telling myself to stand firm on this. I didn’t like the term "mission." Translating was bad enough.
Asa cleared his throat. "It pays double time."
"I’m not for sale."
"I’ll owe you one."
"You already owe me fifty."
"Cynara . . . the Family’s involved."
I froze. "I’m so not hearing this."
"Well, you have to." A hand touched my shoulder, and I flinched hard. "We need you. You’re the only one they trust."
"I wouldn’t exactly call it trust," I murmured. Lead settled in the pit of my stomach and crept up my throat. The Family. Just beautiful. "All right, I’ll think about it. What’s this mission of yours?"
He didn’t say anything.
I turned slowly. "Asa?"
His lips compressed, and he muttered something completely unintelligible.
"Will you just spit it out?"
Asa stared at his shoes, like he hoped they’d carry him somewhere far away. "Escorting the princess."
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